4 Tips For Staying An IT Manager Once You Become An IT Manager

by drjim on August 22, 2013

IT Managers need to find a way to keep their balance once they become an IT Manager

IT Managers need to find a way to keep their balance once they become an IT Manager
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Becoming an IT manager is a difficult thing to do. It turns out that staying IT manager once you reach this lofty position is also very hard to do. I don’t think that there are any market studies on this, but I know of many IT professionals who became managers only to get demoted later on simply because they were not up to the task. If you don’t want your tenure as an IT manager to be this short, then there are some very specific things that you are going to need to do.

4 Reasons That IT Managers Lose Their Job

Look, in order to become an IT manager in the first place you had to be a sharp person. The reason that you might lose this assignment is not because you’re not smart enough to do the job. Rather the reason might be that you just didn’t realize what blunders you needed to avoid in order to prevent yourself from being shown to the door. Here are four mistakes that you must never make as an IT manager:

  • Not Blocking & Tackling: Clouds, mobility, analytics – these are all things that as IT managers we are eager to find out more about and work on new projects with our teams to implement. However, it can be very easy to overlook the simple fact that the rest of the company expects us to take care of the basics such as ensuring that the email server stays up. If we drop the ball on the IT fundamentals that your team is responsible for, then it’s really not going to matter just how good of a job we do when it comes to the shiny new stuff.
  • Using The Wrong Vocabulary: I love technology, you love technology. That’s pretty much where things stop. The rest of the company, including all of the other departments don’t love technology as much as you do. This means that when you talk with them it’s your responsibility to change the words that you use. Don’t talk tech with them. Instead, change your vocabulary so that you discuss things using the financial terms that they use every day. By doing this you’ll fit in better and you just might save your job.
  • Mo Money, Mo Money: One of the biggest mistakes that any IT manager can make can occur when it’s time to create your next budget for your team. Sure, everyone expects you to ask for a little bit more money each year, but if you keep asking for a lot more capital in order to fund new IT projects then you are going to be nobody’s friend. As an IT manager what you need to be doing is finding ways to reduce the amount that you are spending on infrastructure each year so that savings can be used for other IT projects that your team can work on.
  • Make Important Friends: It turns out that one of the keys to being a successful IT manager is taking the time to build the right types of relationships. No matter who you report to, you need to get people from other departments to be on your side. Take the time to find ways to talk with them and make sure that they are fully aware of all of the things that are going on in your part of the IT department.

What All Of This Means For You

Becoming an IT manager is hard work. Staying an IT manager once you get there turns out to be hard work also. IT managers who don’t know what blunders they need to avoid may end up holding onto their IT manager job for a very short time.

The four classic mistakes that you want to avoid include technical failures and not taking care of the basics, using the wrong vocabulary when you talk with others, always asking for more funding, and failing to build the right relationships with important people. Simply being aware of these pitfalls might be all that you need in order to avoid them.

Your company has worked long and hard to make sure that you have both the training and the experience that you’ll need in order to be a successful IT manager. Don’t let them down by blowing it and dropping the ball. Make sure that you don’t commit any of these four IT manager mistakes.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: : What’s the best way for an IT manager to reduce your operational expenses each year?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

How much time every day do you spend thinking about risk? No matter what your answer was, I’m willing to bet that you are not spending enough time on this important subject. Every IT manager knows that there are risks all around us each and every day. In fact, the number of risks that your IT team is facing is probably growing every day. The big question that you need to have the IT manager skills to answer is what should you be doing about this?

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